Student - Anonymous

On March 17 at 7:38 pm I received a message from my school’s administration. I knew it was coming, but that didn’t stop my heart from dropping or tears from escaping my eyes. Along with other schools nearby like MIT and Harvard, Tufts University had just shut down amidst the COVID-19 virus. I heard a girl nearby annoyingly mutter,

“Thank God I get to take French online for the rest of the semester. I hated that teacher. I am so excited to go home to Argentina and see my friends.”

I fell silent. Tufts University had ordered all students to evacuate the dorms by Monday, leaving us 6 days to pack up our rooms and leave. Where was I supposed to go? I couldn’t go back home to Texas. My parents could barely support themselves, let alone myself. As an independent, low-income student at Tufts, while my peers get allowances, the only financial assistance I get for my education is from university grants and my three on-campus jobs. I work as a teaching assistant in my chemistry department, as a monitor for a darkroom in the photography department, and as a front desk at the school library. Would I still get paid now that school was closing down?

March 25, 2020…

It’s been days since my last classes at university. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and school shutting down, I no longer have housing offered to me. My school only granted some international students and a handful of others full housing for the rest of the semester, so I was not lucky enough to get their support for housing. I am currently couch surfing and living off friends for housing, but due to some amazing efforts from Tufts Mutual Aid-an activist group created amidst the chaos of the COVID-19 drama-I may have a sublet nearby campus that I can move into in a week or two. Everything is very uncertain for me at the moment. The financial aid offices did not reimburse students on financial aid, therefore, I have to fend for myself for a few months with the few hundred dollars I have saved up from my jobs. The income that I was receiving for working ⅔ of my jobs dissipated, but luckily I have amazing friends that are keeping me afloat for the time being.

My birthday is in a few weeks. As a kid, I never really got the wonderful gifts everyone else got, so I never liked my birthday. I used to just have wishes instead of gifts for my birthday.
I do have one wish for this birthday.
I wish for school to resume in the fall.
I wish for school to resume because I rely on school for food security
I wish for school to resume because I rely on school for mental health services.
I wish for school to resume because I rely on school for housing.
All of this has been taken from me because of COVID-19.